Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has declared a state of emergency and has put the state’s National Guard “on alert” after a day of rioting, looting and violence targeting police in Baltimore. The violence broke out just hours after the funeral for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man who died in police custody April 19, a week after he was arrested on a West Baltimore street and dragged into the back of a police wagon. Police said Mr. Gray died of severe injuries to his spine and are still investigating the circumstances behind his death.
“Today’s looting and acts of violence in Baltimore will not be tolerated,” Mr. Hogan said in a statement Monday afternoon, saying he had been in contact with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake about the crisis. “In response, I have put the Maryland National Guard on alert so they can be in position to deploy rapidly as needed.”
Mr. Hogan said the Maryland State Police had already been dispatched in a supporting role for Baltimore city police, who seemed to hold back for much of the day as television images showed rioters looting stores and setting cars on fire in the neighborhoods near where Mr. Gray was arrested.
“I strongly condemn the actions of the offenders who are engaged in direct attacks against innocent civilians, businesses and law enforcement officers,” Mr. Hogan said. “There is a significant difference between protesting and violence, and those committing these acts will be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law.”
With demonstrators threatening to take the protests to the city’s prosperous downtown area, Major League Baseball officials announced the cancellation of a planned game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox.